Greene Foster

Diana Greene Foster

Professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences, University of California, San Francisco and Director of Research, Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH)
Areas of Expertise:
  • Reproductive Health
  • Women

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About Diana

Foster is a demographer who uses quantitative models and analyses to evaluate the effectiveness of family planning policies and the effect of unintended pregnancy on women’s lives. She is currently leading the Turnaway Study, a nationwide longitudinal prospective study of the health and well-being of women who seek abortion, including both women who do and do not receive the abortion. Foster has also worked on the evaluation of the California State family planning program, Family PACT. This work demonstrated the effectiveness of the program in reducing the incidence of unintended pregnancy. She created a new methodology for estimating pregnancies averted based on a Markov model and a microsimulation to identify the cost-effectiveness of advance provision of emergency contraception. She also leads the Global Turnaway Study collaboration of scientists from five countries who study access to abortion care.



"Potential Public Sector Cost-Savings from Over-the-Counter Access to Oral Contraceptives" (with M. Antonia Biggs, Kathryn Phillips, Kate Grindlay, and Dan Grossman). Contraception 91 (2015): 373-379.

Uses existing data to estimate the possible effect on unintended pregnancy of making oral contraceptives available over-the-counter. Finds that making the pill available over-the-counter (OTC) could result in a 7%-25% decrease in the number of unintended pregnancies and suggests that public health plans could reduce expenditures on reproductive healthcare by covering OTC oral contraceptives.

"A Comparison of Depression and Anxiety Symptom Trajectories between Women Who Had an Abortion and Women Denied One" (with Julia Steinberg, Sarah Roberts, John Neuhaus, and M. Antonia Biggs). Psychological Medicine 45 (2015): 2073-2082.

Compares depression and anxiety among women who had abortions and women denied wanted abortions for up to 2 years after seeking abortion care. Concludes that women receiving abortions are not at higher risk of experiencing depression and anxiety.

"Denial of Abortion in Legal Settings" (with Caitlin Gerdts, Teresa DePiñeres, Selma Hajri, Jane Harries, Altaf Hossain, Mahesh Puri, and Divya Vohra). Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care 41, no. 3 (2015): 159-160.

Demonstrates that women are denied abortion services in countries with legal abortion and that the reasons for which they were denied varied widely by country. Finds that in Colombia, 2% of women surveyed did not receive the abortions they were seeking; in South Africa, 45% of women did not receive abortions on the day they were seeking abortion services and in both Tunisia and Nepal, 26% of women were denied their wanted abortions.

"Does Abortion Increase Women's Risk for Post-Traumatic Stress? Findings from a Prospective Longitudinal Cohort Study" (with M. Antonia Biggs, Brenly Rowland, and Charles E. McCulloch). BMJ Open (2016).

Discusses the effect of abortion on women’s risk of experiencing post-traumatic stress four years after seeking abortion. Finds that women who receive abortions are no more likely than women denied wanted abortions to report post-traumatic stress and that most women attribute the stress symptoms they experience to violence or abuse or other factors in their lives.

In the News

Diana Greene Foster quoted on research on later abortions in Ally Boguhn, "Congressional Report Debunks Anti-Choice Talking Points in GOP’s 20-Week Abortion Ban" Rewire.News, April 18, 2018.
Diana Greene Foster quoted in Amanda Marcotte, "On Abortion, it's Time to Start Trusting Women: They Know What They're Doing" Salon, January 22, 2018.
Diana Greene Foster quoted on the impact of denying abortion care in Auditi Guha, "The Economic Impact of Denying Abortion Care May be Bigger Than You Think" Rewire, February 7, 2018.
Diana Greene Foster quoted on how being denied abortions affects women in Olivia Exstrum, "A Heartbreaking New Study Shows What Happens to Women after They are Denied Abortions" Mother Jones, January 18, 2018.
Diana Greene Foster quoted on link between being denied abortion and poverty in Kenza Moller, "Women Who are Denied Abortions are More Likely to be Pushed into Poverty, New Study Finds" Romper, January 19, 2018.
"Restricting Access to Abortion Makes Poor Women Poorer," Diana Greene Foster, Los Angeles Times, January 22, 2018.
Diana Greene Foster's research on the Turnaway Study discussed in Joshua Lang. Diana Greene Foster, "What Happens to Women Who are Denied Abortions?," New York Times Magazine, June 13, 2013.
Diana Greene Foster's research on the Turnaway Study discussed in Julia Calderone. Diana Greene Foster, "Here's What Happens When Women are Denied Abortions," Tech Insider, December 9, 2015.
Diana Greene Foster's research on the Turnaway Study discussed in Annalee Newitz. Diana Greene Foster, "New Study Sheds Light on What Happens to Women Who are Denied Abortions," Arstechnica, January 24, 2016.